Peter John Beyfus

These are my People

Diaspora Jewry is going through an unprecedented trauma of questioning where they stand in the present Israel-Hamas war. Jews around the world have been subject to intimidation, accusations in being complicit in genocide and a whole host of antisemitic slurs from controlling the world’s press, to controlling world finance, and you name it, controlling everything that happens in the world! It is not surprising that Jews living in the Diaspora, many of whom are liberal in sentiment and religious affiliation, should feel confused if not bewilder by what is going on the Middle East.

This is a time to reconnect with our spiritual and cultural heritage. Israel is not a far flung country that has nothing to do with Jews living in New York or London, it is an integral part of the Jewish People and to forget that is courting disaster for both the State of Israel and for those living outside its borders. We may disagree with Israeli politics, its current leadership, its stance on a raft of issues, but it remains, with all its faults, no more, no less than other democracies, our defender in time of peril. We cannot depend on host countries to defend the rights of Jews, of protecting us from violence and discrimination; but Israel has shown itself over the last 76 years to put as its top priority the security of the Jewish People. 

It is incumbent on all of us to give voice to Israel’s right to exist and her sovereign right to self-defense. She has been unfairly accused of crimes that do not pass the test of independent judicial review. Her accusing nations, some of whom are the most egregious in the  world, the United Nations that has lost moral credibility, the International Court of Justice that has lost prestige because of its apparent bias, leaves the Diaspora as the only certainty in these troubled times, and Diaspora Jewry must not abandon our Mother, in her hour of need. 

We are all faced with a constant barrage from those who find the present war distasteful, embarrassing and difficult to negotiate, people who would claim to be unprejudiced, accepting of Jewish people as equals are unsure how to relate to those who support Israel; they do not know what to think when confronted with media reports of alleged atrocities and Israeli intransigence in seeking a ceasefire. Our universities have been seized by activists, some of whom are academics, seeking to cast Israel as the perpetrator of genocide, a charge unproven, but still leveled at the IDF. These protestors have been seduced by Hamas propaganda, unable its seems to exercise the intelligence with which they have been endowed to see through manipulation of the press. But, that sadly, is the world in which we live, where misinformation and disinformation is rife, leaving those whose concentration exceeds that of a gold fish to see through the rhetoric and sound bites. 

Diaspora Jewry must remain resolute in supporting Israel in this struggle. We should cease to be apologists for the State in order to make our lives more comfortable and to maintain “good relations” with our neighbors. It is salutary to remember that if Israel goes under then the only true defender we have in the world is no more, and that does not bode well for Diaspora Jewry. Am Yisrael Chai

About the Author
Peter John Beyfus is an historian, published author, poet, and a person who prides himself on “thinking outside the box”. I have written many essays on Jewish themes, published in various journals, including ‘Wessex Jewish News’ and ‘Westminster Quarterly’, the magazine of Westminster Synagogue, London.
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